Coronado v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 07-18-2014
  • Case #: 11-72121
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Nguyen for the Court; Circuit Judges Benavides and Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

An individual can be held inadmissible based on a conviction for possessing methamphetamine, in violation of California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) because § 11377(a) is a divisible statute and in applying the modified categorical approach violation of § 11377(a)also violates the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

Raul Quijada Coronado ("Coronado") petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) decision finding him inadmissible and denying his application for cancellation of removal. Coronado argues that the BIA erred in concluding that he had suffered two prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance prohibited under the Federal Controlled Substances Act ("CSA"). Coronado further argues that the BIA erred in failing to address his constitutional claims. Coronado was convicted of possession of methamphetamine in 2006 and 2010. Because of his convictions the immigration judge ("IJ") found Coronado inadmissible and denied his application for cancellation of removal. Coronado appealed the BIA which affirmed the IJ's ruling. Corondo filed a timely petition for review. The Ninth Circuit held "that the statute under which Coronado was convicted, California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a), is a divisible statute, and thus, we apply the modified categorical approach in analyzing Coronado’s prior convictions." "[T]he modified categorical approach applies only to prior convictions under a “divisible” statute, one that 'sets out one or more elements of the offense in the alternative'. Under that approach, the government satisfied its burden of proving that Coronado was twice convicted of possessing methamphetamine, a controlled substance listed in the CSA. Therefore, the BIA did not err in finding Coronado inadmissible based on his prior convictions. However, because the BIA failed to address Coronado’s due process claims, which allege ineffective assistance of counsel and bias by the [IJ], we remand to the BIA for consideration of these claims in the first instance. We dismiss Coronado’s unexhausted equal protection claim for lack of jurisdiction." "The petition for review is DENIED in part as to the BIA’s determination that Coronado is inadmissible due to his convictions for possession of methamphetamine; GRANTED in part and REMANDED as to Coronado’s due process claims; and DISMISSED in part as to Coronado’s equal protection claim."

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